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Andrew Zimmern on Farm-to-Table Chefs: flour + water

flour + water Delta Sky November 2010 Frankenyimages.com

Courtesy of Frankenyimages.com

Bogoli with pancetta and fresh shelling bean ragu at flour + water.

The Locale: flour + water, 2401 Harrison Street

The Chef: A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Thomas McNaughton is an alum of some of the Bay Area’s premier restaurants: Quince, Gary Danko and La Folie. However, just before flour + water opened, he took a gig in a Bologna, Italy, pasta factory, where he learned the art of creating hand-rolled pasta.

The Concept: Authentic, rustic Italian cuisine made with Northern California’s best ingredients: All pasta is made from scratch; Neapolitan-style pizzas are fired in a wood-burning oven imported from the motherland; and meats are cured in-house. McNaughton works with local farmers to source fresh produce and whole animals, of which he utilizes every part. “I believe it is important to know, understand and have a connection with what is behind a dish,” he says.

The Atmosphere: Though the restaurant has garnered a lot of press since opening in May 2009, it’s dedicated to maintaining a low-key, come-as-you-are attitude. Décor is straightforward, incorporating repurposed redwood (once used as wine fermentation tanks), understated paintings from local artist Jessica Niello and lots of natural light. Servers aren’t required to wear uniforms, and among your fellow diners, you’ll find guys in paint-covered jeans and T-shirts and couples decked out for date night.

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